P-12

Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

Questions and Answers
2012-2015 School District Performance Improvement Competitive Grant Program

Due to a delayed release of the Questions and Answers Responses, the deadline by which applications must be postmarked for this grant has been extended to Friday, February 10, 2012.


Questions about Academic Performance Section (Performance Index Metrics)

  1. The chart on page 35 indicates the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math PI’s for 2009-2010 are located at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/accountability/. When we access that link, we are unable to locate the “2009-2010 District Performance Indices for Determining District Gains” as directed.

    Answer: This is the correct link. The 2009-2010 District Performance Indices for Determining District Gains is located in the center of the page.

  2. On page 33 of the grant application, it states, “Districts with resulting calculated points for all students that are less than 0 are awarded 0 points for the all student part of the Gain Index calculation. Does this refer to a negative aggregate score or to each academic measure individually? Which is correct?
    Grade 3-8 ELA -3.5   0
    Grade 3-8 Math -2.5 0
    Grade 4 & 8 Science-1.00
    Graduation Rate +3.0  3.0 
    Total-4.0+3.0

    Answer: It refers to a negative aggregate score. If the combined score across all measures is negative, the district will be awarded no points, even if one or more of the individual indicators shows gain.

  3. When putting together the data information for the grant, can districts target only specific subgroups of students (e.g. students with disabilities and/or poverty)?

    Answer: No. Pages 3, 38, and 39 of the grant application list the metrics used to measure student performance.

  4. Would a district be eligible if the Performance Index declined in many areas, but there was evidence of improvement for one or more student subgroups?

    Answer: In the Academic Improvement section of the RFP (worth 50 points), gains will be based solely on the performance of the "all students" group, that is the aggregated performance of all students in the district. The gains index does not take into account the disaggregated performance of any of the groups with the greatest educational needs. Therefore, eligibility can only be established based on the performance of all students, not gains for any particular group of students.

    However, the Closing the Achievement sections (worth 10 of 35 points) of each of the Priority Area Programs requests disaggregated data for each of the student groups with the greatest educational needs. The response to the closing the Achievement Gap question(s) would be the place to provide evidence of the improvement of the performance of one or more subgroups.

  5. Does the data need to be broken out by grade level for 3-8 or a cumulative percentage at or above standard?

    Answer: Districts are not required to report results by grade level, but may provide this information if they wish.

  6. Fifty two percent (52%) of the scoring for the School District Performance Improvement Competition Grant is tied to Academic Performance Points and Needs Bonus Points. However, there is no place in the application to indicate the district’s calculation of their points. Do we just include the district’s calculation of performance/need points in the narrative, or is this being done by the State Education Department as part of the review process.

    Answer: The State Education Department will be calculating the Academic Performance and Needs Bonus Points. Districts may inquire about their Academic Performance and Needs Bonus Points by emailing gc12004@mail.nysed.gov.

  7. What kind of data would we need to show we have what we need to apply for the grant?

    Answer: The eligibility requirements for this grant are outlined on pages 1-3 of the RFP.

  8. When describing our academic performance are we to refer to the PI's and Race to the Top Final Scope of Work data only?

    Answer: Each of the four priority areas requests specific information on academic performance. The applicant should provide the data that is requested for the priority area(s) for which it is applying.

  9. May a public school district in Sullivan County apply for Section IV using the learning results of their CTE students attending the SCBOCES CTE program?

    Answer: Pages 3, 38 and 39 of the grant application list the metrics used to measure student performance.

  10. Could you please define significant improvement? Would an eight point increase in the 4-year graduation rate for Hispanic Students Count, along with a five point increase in the 4-year graduation rate for Economically Disadvantaged Students be considered significant? Would a fifteen point increase in the Performance Index in Elementary and Middle Level Science for Hispanic Students be considered significant?

    Answer: The term "significant improvement" does not appear in the RFP and therefore does not need to be defined.

  11. Is there a list of eligible Districts similar to the EETT list?

    Answer: There is no list of eligible districts. Districts may inquire about their Academic Performance and Needs Bonus Points by emailing gc12004@mail.nysed.gov.

  12. For eligibility, what data is used to demonstrate the greatest gains in student performance in the prior school year as measured by increases in student outcomes?

    Answer: Pages 3, 38 and 39 of the grant application list the metrics used to measure student performance.

  13. Regarding the four metrics for measuring student performance, are all of these to be addressed: ELA, math, science, and graduation rate or at least one of these?

    Answer: Each of the four priority areas provides information on the specific measures that are to be addressed in that section.

  14. Our school district does have a Race to the Top Final Scope of Work on your list, BUT we have just been identified as a SINI Year I for Students with Disabilities (our only high need subgroup). Are we still eligible?

    Answer: Yes, as long as the district meets the other eligibility requirements listed on pp. 1-3 of the RFP.

  15. If a school district is a District In Need of Improvement (year1) with three secondary schools in need of improvement status – 1 high school in restructuring, 2 schools (intermediate and middle schools) In need of Improvement, is the district an eligible candidate for this grant?

    Answer: Yes, as long as the district meets the other eligibility requirements listed on pp. 1-3 of the RFP.

  16. Is a district eligible for this grant if they are designated in Improvement status (DINI) for a subgroup?

    Answer: Yes, as long as the district meets the other eligibility requirements listed on pp. 1-3 of the RFP.

  17. Regarding student performance increases from the 2010 to the 2011 school year, are we to show this for the All Student group as well as at least one of the subgroup areas with the greatest educational needs (including those subgroups that have less than 30 students)? Does this apply to both the academic performance consideration and the priority area program consideration?

    Answer: In the Academic Improvement section of the RFP (worth 50 points), gains will be based solely on the performance of the "all students" group, that is the aggregated performance of all students in the district. The gains index does not take into account the disaggregated performance of any of the groups with the greatest educational needs. Therefore, eligibility can only be established based on the performance of all students, not gains for any particular group of students.

    However, the Closing the Achievement sections (worth 10 of 35 points) of each of the Priority Area Programs requests disaggregated data for each of the student groups with the greatest educational needs. The response to the closing the Achievement Gap question(s) would be the place to provide evidence of the improvement of the performance of one or more subgroups.

  18. I’m hoping that someone can assist…….

    I understand the rationale for having an objective criteria for documenting gain index.

    However, how might a district positioned – with a targeted intervention document to improve graduation rate – be fairly judged (readiness – likelihood to succeed (documentation of a replicable approach and the like) based on 3-8 PI for ELA AND Math AND Science? And, that’s just one of 20 or more scenarios that coud play out – but still demonstrate the misalignment of scoring/weighting and legislative intent for the monies.

    My instinct is that the way this would play out may not have been considered……Race to the Top Legislation may, for example, have required you (SED) to have a means by which to document such information……but the articulation of the criteria in the current RPFS manifest as ....grades 3-8 ELA AND Math AND Science AND Graduation Rate.

    Was the intention perhaps to focus on one….not get into the weighting which frankly will skew the 50 points towards high end suburban districts?

    Answer: While in the Academic Improvement section (worth 50 points), gains will be based solely on the performance of the "all students" group, that is the aggregated performance of all students in the district, the Closing the Achievement Gap sections of the Priority Area Programs (worth 10 of 35 points) requests disaggregated data for each of the student groups with the greatest educational needs. The response to the closing the Achievement Gap question(s) would be the place to provide evidence of the improvement of the performance of one or more subgroups.

Questions about District Need Section (Bonus Points)

  1. Could you please provide a list of high, average and low need districts or tell me where to review a list?”

    Answer: A list of each district's Need/Resource category is available in the "Need/Resource Capacity Categories & District List" file, found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/accountability/.

  2. In item #3 (Bonus Points), the information indicates a measurement of "Percentage of Students in the district who are free or reduced lunch eligible." How are you determining (or how should a district determine) the percentage of students ELIGIBLE (as opposed to the percentage of students actually participating in free and reduced lunch programs? Is information coming from Census data? Other sources of demographic information?

    Answer: The eligibility number is based on the information submitted by the schools to SED's Basic Educational Data System and monthly by school to Child Nutrition. Children are automatically eligible for free meals (family income is below 130% of poverty) because they or a household member receive benefits from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), (called the Food Stamp Program in New York State), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). Students are determined eligible through a direct certification letter or a data match with Food Stamp or TANF information provided three times a year by SED or an application with an appropriate case number or eligible income. Homeless, runaway, migrant, foster children and head start children are also free. Children from families whose income is between 130 and 185 percent of poverty qualify on an income application for reduced priced meals. An LEA should have their eligibility numbers since they need to submit this information annually to SED's Basic Educational Data System.

  3. The RFP states that districts are eligible for BONUS points in the summative calculation of their PERFORMANCE POINTS (narrative question #1) based on free and reduced lunch and enrollment data. However, the cited source for these data; 2010-2011 BEDS L2RPT and 2010-2011 AOR are not available at this time. Please advise.

    Answer: The questioner is correct that the 2010-11 data for neither BEDS L2RPT nor the AOR are available. Instead, the performance points based on free and reduced lunch and enrollment data should be calculated from the 2009-10 AOR, available at https://reportcards.nysed.gov/.

Questions about APPR (Education Law §3012-c & section 100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations)

  1. The RFP states “A District selected to receive a grant will only be eligible to receive an award upon submitting proof, no later than the end of the 2011-2012 school year, that it has fully implemented the provisions of Education Law §3012-c (APPR) and section 100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations.” Our district’s contract will not expire this year (11-12) and we are currently negotiating with our unions. Will we still be eligible for this grant?

    Answer: To be eligible to receive this grant, a district must provide documentation by no later than June 30, 2012 that it fully implemented the provisions of Education Law §3012-c (APPR) and section 100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations in all schools during the 2011-12 school year.

  2. The grant states that a district must fully implement APPR in order to receive grant funds; however, at this time part of APPR is still in litigation, preventing districts from fully implementing APPR. How should districts proceed in light of the current litigation?

    Answer: To be eligible to receive this grant, a district must provide documentation by no later than June 30, 2012 that it has fully implemented the provisions of Education Law §3012-c (APPR) and section 100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations. The litigation regarding the APPR does not change this requirement.

  3. What does full implementation of Education Law §3012-c (APPR) and section 100.2(o) mean? If we are piloting pieces of the APPR requirements or implementing it in subset of our schools, due to SIG, will we be eligible for funding?

    Answer: Unlike the SIG grants, which are awarded to individual schools, the Performance Grant is awarded to a school district. As such, to be eligible to receive this grant, a district must provide documentation no later than June 30, 2012 that it fully implemented the provisions of Education Law §3012-c (APPR) and section 100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations in all schools during the 2011-12 school year.

  4. What type of proof does a public school district need to submit to show it has fully implemented the provisions of Education Law §3012-c (APPR) and section 100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations?

    Answer: A district may submit an amended APPR or a copy of the provisions of its collective bargaining agreements with organizations representing teachers and principals that demonstrate that the provisions of Education Law §3012-c (APPR) and section 100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations have been fully negotiated and are ready for full implementation in all schools during the 2011-12 school year.

Application Questions

  1. May a BOCES or other group of districts apply as a consortium if each of the districts represented meet all of the criteria?

    Answer: No, districts must apply individually. A BOCES or other consortium of districts may not apply because there would be no mechanism to assign the Performance Gains to a consortium.

  2. May a district submit more than one application competing against each other? Will SED award more than one award per district if the proposals total less than $1.5M? [The district’s allocation] We have three strong project ideas, how can we get them all under consideration?

    Answer: A district may submit only one application. The applicant may submit an application for multiple priority areas. In that case, each of the priority areas will be rated separately and then the applicant will receive the average of the scores for each priority area.

  3. Can a charter school apply for this grant?

    Answer: No, charter schools are not school districts and are not eligible for this grant.

  4. We are a K-6 District feeding into a central high school district. Are we eligible as a priority area for middle school? Our K-6 program provides strong foundational skills to support students’ success in middle school, our sixth grade as well as the central high school grade 7-8 program.

    Answer: Yes, a K-6 District would be eligible to apply for middle school as a Priority Area.

  5. Do you anticipate holding a webinar in reference to the School District Performance Improvement Grant?

    Answer: No.

  6. SED’s website states January 13th as the deadline for the Competitive Grant application, yet the Governor’s press release states January 17th. Which is the correct date?

    Answer: The deadline by which applications must be postmarked for this grant has been extended to Friday, February 10, 2012.

  7. Can individual Districts within NYC apply for the grant?

    Answer: Yes. Page 5 of the grant application states “New York City may choose to apply as one district or individual New York City community school districts may apply.”

  8. Is there any preferred format for the narratives (font, margins, etc.)?

    Answer: Page 5 of the grant application states: “The Proposal Narrative, including the budget narrative, must not exceed twenty-five (25) pages in font size of 12 point, single-spaced, with one-inch margins, and page numbers. Proposals will not be read past page twenty-five.”

  9. What is the volume of applications you tend to get?

    Answer: Since this is a new grant, we don’t know.

  10. Do you have any "tips" or suggestions related to the successful application?

    Answer: Read the RFP carefully and answer the questions.

  11. Unlike with other state grants, e.g.: SIG and SIF, there is no consultation and collaboration form in this application. Is sign-off/documentation of consultation and collaboration with our collective bargaining units (e.g.: teachers and administrators unions) required for this grant?

    Answer: No.

  12. Project Time period: is defined as “three years”. The time period given, 5/1/12 – 6/30/15 represents three years and two months. Please clarify.

    Answer: The time period is as specified: 5/1/12 to 6/30/15.

Budget Questions

  1. After reviewing the grant application, I did not see any limitations on how to the funds could be used aside from granting salary increases/bonuses, and/or capital work project. Are there any other limitations how the monies can be used? Can the funding be used for personnel?

    Answer: Yes. The FS-10 Budget Form and information about the categories of expenditures, general information on allowable costs and applicable federal costs principles and administrative regulations are available in the Fiscal Guidelines for Federal and State Aided Grants. Page 20 of the grant application states, “Only budgeted items, which are appropriate and consistent with the purposes and goals for the grant program, will be funded. If any items that are inconsistent with the requirements of this grant proposal are included in the budget, they will be deleted and the budget will be scored accordingly. Funds may not be expended on salary increases or bonuses for staff or capital construction.”

  2. Can the funds from this grant be used to pay for teacher and staff salaries?

    Answer: Yes. The FS-10 Budget Form and information about the categories of expenditures, general information on allowable costs and applicable federal costs principles and administrative regulations are available in the Fiscal Guidelines for Federal and State Aided Grants. In addition Page 20 of the grant application states, “Only budgeted items, which are appropriate and consistent with the purposes and goals for the grant program, will be funded. If any items that are inconsistent with the requirements of this grant proposal are included in the budget, they will be deleted and the budget will be scored accordingly. Funds may not be expended on salary increases or bonuses for staff or capital construction.”

  3. Can we create a position for the duration of the grant that creates sustainable systems?

    Answer: Yes. The FS-10 Budget Form and information about the categories of expenditures, general information on allowable costs and applicable federal costs principles and administrative regulations are available in the Fiscal Guidelines for Federal and State Aided Grants. Page 20 of the grant application states, “Only budgeted items, which are appropriate and consistent with the purposes and goals for the grant program, will be funded. If any items that are inconsistent with the requirements of this grant proposal are included in the budget, they will be deleted and the budget will be scored accordingly. Funds may not be expended on salary increases or bonuses for staff or capital construction.”

  4. Are there certain percentages that funds have to be allocated for? IE professional development, technology hardware and software, personnel, benefits...?

    Answer: There are no pre-determined percentages for the allocation of funds. The FS-10 Budget Form and information about the categories of expenditures, general information on allowable costs and applicable federal costs principles and administrative regulations are available in the Fiscal Guidelines for Federal and State Aided Grants. Page 20 of the grant application states, “Only budgeted items, which are appropriate and consistent with the purposes and goals for the grant program, will be funded. If any items that are inconsistent with the requirements of this grant proposal are included in the budget, they will be deleted and the budget will be scored accordingly. Funds may not be expended on salary increases or bonuses for staff or capital construction.” Budgets will be scored depending on how they are aligned with program activities, are reasonable in cost and necessary for the achievement of program goals.

  5. Can the grant proposal include the development of a learning plan for the individual student with needs?

    Answer: Yes, if this budgeted item is appropriate and consistent with the purposes and goals of the grant program. Funds may not be expended on salary increases or bonuses for staff or capital construction (Page 20 of the RFP).

  6. Can the grant proposal include strategies for character education and academic sociability. IE book clubs, peer tutors, enrichment activities, field trips, guest speakers, job/career fairs....?

    Answer: Yes, if these budgeted items are appropriate and consistent with the purposes and goals of the grant program. Funds may not be expended on salary increases or bonuses for staff or capital construction (Page 20 of the RFP).

  7. Is there a local evaluation with set aside fund?

    Answer: No.

  8. Should in-kind items be included in the FS-10 budget form? Or in the budget narrative?

    Answer: In-kind services do not belong on the Form FS-10. An applicant may include a description of in-kind services in the budget narrative. However, no points will be awarded for the description of in-kind services and applicants are reminded that their proposal/budget narrative cannot exceed twenty-five pages. Points in the budget narrative will be awarded based on a description of how the proposed expenditures in the FS-10 budget are aligned with the program activities, reasonable in cost and necessary for the achievement of the program goals.

  9. If we included BOCES services in the budget, should we include the up-front cost of those services (i.e., not reflecting any potential state aid that could be received the following school year)?

    Answer: Yes. Performance Improvement grants may be used to support the local share of shared services, but may not be used to generate BOCES Aid.

  10. If a district is interested in applying for more than one competition area, would their total budget for all competitions equal the amount specified in the RFP based on their enrollment? Or can they apply for the maximum amount for each competition in which they are interested.

    Answer: If a district applies for more than one competition area, their total budget remains the amount specified in the grant application based on their enrollment.

Last Updated: December 16, 2011